Are you sick of the recession? Yeah me too. But amidst all the hand-wringing and whining, something great has happened to our business. It’s become recession-proof.
If you’re a long-time Publishize newsletter reader, you may already know this story, but about 4 years ago, our small 2-person company offered only services (Web design, programming and graphic design). We realized that the idiocy in the real estate marketplace was going to cause a big problem down the road. As it turns out, we were right.
After living through the “dot bomb” recession of 2001, we knew that consulting is often the first thing to be cut when things fall apart. So we opted to put a lot of our online content into book form.
I researched the publishing process and opted to do “true self-publishing” by establishing an independent press, purchasing ISBNs, and printing through Lightning Source. We have published 10 books since 2006 and sell them through both online booksellers such as Amazon.com and our own Web sites.
My process is described in detail in my award-winning ninth book: Publishize: How to Quickly and Affordably Self-Publish a Book That Promotes Your Expertise (http://www.Publishize.com) and we teach other people how to do what we have done at our publisher training Web site.
Our books led to increased PR and other products related to our books, such as audio/workbooks, templates, membership sites, and software. Product sales now are about 40% of our income and made it possible for us to survive the recession, even when a lot of consulting income vanished.
Publishing a book and other products gives you:
1. Additional income. This should be obvious, but there’s a lot to be said for getting a check every month from your book sales. We call our Lightning Source checks “magic money” because the cash is automatically deposited into our bank account.
2. Long term income. Assuming you write on “evergreen” topics, your book can make money for you for a long time. If you self-publish, the book doesn’t have to go “out of print” until you say it does. With print on demand printing, you have no inventory, so a book can stay “in print” almost indefinitely at almost zero cost.
3. Competitive advantage. As self-publishing expert Dan Poynter is fond of saying, the root word of “authority” is “author.” Being a published book author sets you apart from other people in your field.
4. Diverse product line. Pretty much everyone loves the idea of multiple income streams. A book can be the beginning of a large product line. For an extreme example, consider the “Chicken Soup” books. They have morphed into an entire brand. There’s even “Chicken Soup” dog food now!
5. Diverse subject matter. Our books are on many different topics, and some sell better than others at certain times of year, which levels out our income throughout the year.
If your consulting business is slow right now, take advantage of the extra time and start working on your book. Now is a great time to get it done and out there making money for you!